Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB) August, 2003 / Vol. 9, No. 4

FAIR HOUSING NEWS

A newsletter about fair housing, community development, and neighborhood quality of life




GREETINGS!

We hope you are enjoying this summer. Contact us for a free copy of any mentioned article or a free subscription to Fair Housing News: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org. More info, resources, & links are at our website: http://www.gbchrb.org.

IN THE NEWS

HUD Study Released in July, 2003, Finds Asians and Pacific Islanders Face Continued Housing Discrimination. The study, Discrimination in Metropolitan Housing Markets: Phase 2 -Asians and Pacific Islanders, found one out of five trying to rent or buy a home are discriminated against. The rate is similar for African Americans and Hispanics. The study was based on testing in 11 cities, including Washington, D. C., New York, and Los Angeles - accounting for 77% of all Asians and Pacific Islanders in the USA. Similar HUD studies examining discrimination against Native Americans and people with disabilities are expected to be released later in 2003. (HUD News Release #03-060, US Department of Housing & Urban Development, July 1, 2003, www.hud.gov/news)

August 28, 2003 is the 40th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Featuring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech. The March led to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a commentary in the current issue of Crisis, Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) remembered the many productive achievements since that time, but also said that "There can be no tranquility in America until equal justice and fairness become the order of the day. We must register the unregistered and inspire the uninspired" (p. 20). Lewis, incidentally, as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee spoke at the 1963 March. (Crisis, July/August, 2003:19-20)

Rising Number of Housing Discrimination Complaints Filed in 1999-2002. Last year, a total of 25,246 housing discrimination complaints were made through nonprofits, HUD, the Department of Justice, and state and local agencies. This represents an increase of over 3,000 since 1999. But many who are denied housing either do not realize they are being discriminated against or do not bother to file a complaint, according to Shanna Smith of the National Fair Housing Alliance. (Washington Post, August 2, 2003:F01)

Georgia City Will Pay $425,000 to Settle Discrimination Case Because of Rejection of Affordable Housing Complex. The US Department of Justice and the City of Pooler agreed to settle in the case stemming from the Pooler City Council's rejection of plans for a 68-unit complex because it feared there would be an "influx" of African-Americans into the primarily white Savannah suburb. The developer said he hoped the settlement "would send a message to other cities who thought about blocking housing developments for discriminatory reasons." Ralph Boyd, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights commented, "While cities have the right to control local zoning and residential development, they must fairly exercise their discretion in a manner that is free of racial bias." (National Fair Housing Advocate, June/July, 2003:2)

Study Finds Immigrant Households Have Significant Housing Problems, as Many Suffer from Increasing Housing Unaffordability. A study of Census data by the National Housing Conference found Hispanic immigrants especially were much more likely to live in overcrowded and/or substandard units and pay more than 50% of their income for housing. The study found the shortage of housing for low and moderate-income workers has forced tremendous overcrowding. Many Hispanic immigrants have jobs in fast-growing areas where wages have not kept up with soaring housing prices. A previous study from the group found while the income of janitors increased 9% during 1999-2001 to $17,900, the cost for median rent and utilities went up 25% to $721 monthly or $8,652 annually. (Baltimore Sun, August 3, 2003:3L)

New President of the National Urban League Marc Morial Warns Against the Effects of Covert Racism. Morial said, "There has been a strong shift from Jim Crow - the overt manifestation of racial hatred by individuals in white society - to James Crow, Esquire - the maintenance of racial inequality through covert processes of structure and institutions." He added, "We must not be afraid to say to ourselves that we have much work to do." (The Associated Press, July 28, 2003)

There is a very interesting chapter on reducing NIMBYism called "Gaining Community Support: A Strategic Approach," in The New Shape of Suburbia, by Adrienne Schmitz (Urban Land Institute, 2003, 200 pp., $69.95). Based on case studies, the author discusses how to avoid community opposition and anger, and ways to mobilize supporters.





DID YOU KNOW?

The Baltimore Department of Housing & Community Development and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City have an interesting electronic newsletter Door2Door. Check it out on their revised website: www.baltimorehousing.org.

A Very Useful Free E-Newsletter on Reducing NIMBY opposition is NIMBY Notes by GCA Strategies. To sign up: www.gcstrategies.com/index.html.

Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Informational Brochures & Posters. Telephone the GBCHRB at 410-453-9500 or mail@gbchrb.org for free copies.

TV Worth Watching!?! Local! Community, Improvements, Housing, Neighborhoods, Living, People, Rights! The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat is on various cable-TV stations. The 30-minute interview show runs on Channel 21 & 8 in Baltimore City, 99 in Anne Arundel County, 71 in Baltimore County, 3 in Carroll, and 3 & 7 in Harford! Call us at 410-453-9500 or the stations for the show's days and times!

INTERESTING BOOKS

The World is a Ghetto: Race and Democracy Since World War II. by Howard Winant. New York: Basic Books, 2003. 448 pp. $20.00 pbk. Winant examines the complexities of economic development, labor processes, democratic development, and cultural concepts in the USA, South Africa, Brazil, and Europe - and finds that race is still significant and still impacting society. Regarding the USA, Winant argues that "the elimination of Jim Crow did not really occur" (p. 168), and racism is still pervasive in housing, employment, education, and throughout public policy.

Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement. by Kathleen M. Blee. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. 272 pp. $19.95. pbk.

Based on deep interviews with 34 women in racist and anti-Semitic groups, this sociological examination traces how "everyday racism" becomes "extraordinary racism." Women's routes to hate groups are very different than are men's. Essentially, the women often are educated, middle-class, work in education, nursing, engineering. Their intense racism, the author argues, results from their participation in the racist groups - as they learn intense racism. Blee concludes, "for these women, racism is a politics of despair."

Transportation Racism: New Routes to Equity. Robert Bullard, Glenn Johnson, & Angel Torres, eds. Boston: South End Press, To be published in January, 2004. 300 pp. $20.00. pbk.

The various articles treat the state of US transportation, and find that many poor people and people of color lack access; for millions, exclusion thus means drastically reduced life choices. Transportation policy and urban planning are shown to be vehicles (pardon!) for enforcement of racial and economic inequality.

The Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege. by Linda F. Williams. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. 429 pp. $35.00. hardcover.

This book takes a different perspective on an old problem. Instead of looking at the inequalities suffered by Blacks, Williams looks at the advantages enjoyed by whites. Whiteness is thus examined as ideology and reality.



REST IN PEACE

Ivan Allen, Jr., Atlanta Mayor, 92. Allen was credited with peacefully desegregating Atlanta during his 1962-1970 tenure. The day he took office he ordered the "colored" and "white" signs taken down and hired Blacks for many municipal jobs. Allen strongly supported the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and helped organize a 1964 dinner honoring him for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the sole Southern elected official to testify before Congress to support the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As Sen. Zell Miller (D-Georgia) said, "No one person in the South's recent history did more to bring the races together than Ivan Allen, Jr." (Baltimore Sun, July 3, 2003:5B)